Quest for queso

A comparison of quesos Eau Claire restaurants have to offer

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Taylor Reisdorf

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Taylor Reisdorf enjoys rating six different quesos; this particular queso is from Taqueria la Poblanita.

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Taylor Reisdorf enjoys rating six different quesos; this particular queso is from Taqueria la Poblanita.

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Of all the food this world has to offer, not many can compare to queso. The joy that comes from the melted, creamy, warm and cheesy goodness hitting your tastebuds is indescribable.

If it isn’t clear already, I’m an avid queso lover. This week, I nobly took it upon myself to compare the different quesos Eau Claire restaurants have to offer.

I made stops at Chipotle, Roble, Taqueria la Poblanita, Burrachos and El Patio to find out if there’s one cheesy dip that stands out among the rest. The offerings varied, with some quesos consisting of one type of melted cheese and others being an explosion of melted cheeses, peppers and spices.

My quest started at Chipotle. The recent hype surrounding Chipotle’s first steps into the world of melted cheese — and the debate about the queso quality — is what made me think to write a story of this sort in the first place.

Overall, I was underwhelmed by what Chipotle had to offer. When I first heard Chipotle was adding queso to its menu, I was ecstatic. All of that excitement was for nothing, really.

The queso, which had an orangish-white appearance, a very thick, potato-soup-like texture and flecks of red and green peppers, had a very muted spice that hit as if in an afterthought. The flavor was quite bland — especially when paired with a chip — and didn’t taste strongly of cheese, which is the opposite of what I want in a queso. Additionally, there was a chalky texture to the dip that wasn’t pleasant. It felt like a once-frozen queso that was heated up and served.

After my experience, I’ll definitely be sticking to pairing my chips with guacamole when eating at Chipotle. I’d give the queso a 5.8/10.

My next stop on the journey was Roble. I had never been to this relatively new Mexican spot and had been meaning to try it out. I was pleasantly surprised by Roble’s melted, cheesy deliciousness. However, the cost, being a little over $7.00, was slightly out of my preferred queso price range.

The queso had a similar appearance to Chipotle’s, but was presented in a fancier fashion. There was some sort of hot sauce and cilantro as a garnish. The cheese dip was orangish-white, with green (light and dark) and red flecks of both peppers and fire-roasted tomatoes. It had a thicker texture, but it wasn’t unpleasant. There was a very prominent taste of cheese, and the creamy queso had a nice and spicy kick. It felt a lot fresher than Chipotle’s, and in the end I would recommend it to a friend. I’d rate this melted cheese dip a 8/10.

Taqueria la Poblanita was also a first-time experience for me. The completely white queso was very singular in taste. It was made of one kind of cheese, which I found out from my waiter was Jack cheese. However, it was still very satisfying. It was served very hot, and it had a lovely creaminess to it. It also had a very strong cheese taste I enjoyed. I’d recommend it to someone who is delighted by melted cheese but doesn’t want the spice. I’d personally rate it a 7.4/10.

Burrachos, a well-known classic, was mediocre and didn’t stand out too much from the crowd of queso. It wasn’t entirely horrible or amazing. I can appreciate it, and rate it a 7/10, but won’t go too in-depth about it. So onto the next.

Last but not least, I made my way to El Patio. Now, I’m no El Pat newbie. I’ve had my fair share of experiences with El Patio’s food. Their queso has always been a go-to, and is probably what made me like the melted, cheesy goodness so much in the first place. So I’m not surprised this queso came out on top. The white queso, speckled with green, has the exact creaminess, thickness, and spice I want in a queso. It truly never disappoints, and to me it’s the best queso Eau Claire has to offer. 9.7/10.

All in all, my queso quest was a success. You can really never go wrong when it comes to the melted cheesy greatness that is queso. I finished my experiment with a full stomach, a content soul and plenty of leftover queso.

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